With wintry winds and flurries of frost falling on the nation, the look and character of our neighbourhoods and open spaces can change dramatically over even just a few hours.
What may have started out as a regular woodland or open space can take on a new personality with the changing seasons – leaf greens giving way to autumnal umber, rich reds and browns – before being buried beneath the snow as winter finally sets in.
This change of life can be felt starkly across the animal kingdom too, as migratory birds depart our shores for warmer climes, and hibernating creatures bed down to wait out the cold winter months.
However, there’s one thing on our body of over 600 estates that doesn’t stop or slow down when winter hits… Greenbelt’s Regional Operations Managers (ROMs), who are responsible for overseeing the maintenance and management of all housing developments within their region!
Greenbelt’s ROMs are unique, spending more time directly ‘on the ground’ visiting, inspecting and reporting on our estates than any other type of staff.
In this way, ROMs aren’t just Greenbelt’s frontline for quality control – but they’re also best placed to observe any seasonal changes, month-on-month, as the landscape transforms.
Mal Vickers, our ROM for the north-west of England, took this artistic image of a crisp, clear blue wintry sky – framed through the canopy of a mature woodland, in various stages of shedding its colourful leaves – on the Emerald Green estate in Barnsley, South Yorkshire.
As winter maintenance schedules continue, focus shifts to preparatory ground works (like edging, forking and new planting) which are best done during this cold, dormant period.
Meanwhile, monthly woodland and tree inspections identify potential issues before they can exacerbate, minimising the risk of damage during high winds or other inclement winter weather…
…like the snow blanketing our development at Ashwood Heights, Cookstown, County Tyrone. Incredibly, the two pictures were taken just days apart!
This snowy scene was captured by Sarah Peilow, Greenbelt’s ROM in Northern Ireland, prominently featuring the public bench we maintain as part of the estate’s range of managed street furniture.
The two trees centrally pictured are deciduous Alder – a stoic species known for its ability to tolerate the colder conditions of the ‘North temperate zone’ (including Canada and Northern Europe) where it thrives.
Greenbelt’s Regional Operations Managers often take pictures of conditions and ongoing work on-site, which serve as a ‘time-stamped’ visual record and supporting resource in managerial reports.
The pictures are passed to Greenbelt’s office-based Operational and Customer Care teams, who log the images on our bespoke Site Information Service for future use – including as a maintenance record, providing customer information, or even inclusion in our promotional materials!
As we move further into February and temperatures begin to slowly climb, be sure to look around your local area or favourite natural spaces for signs that spring is on its way!
If you’re interested in seeing more high-quality images of UK open spaces and landscaping, you can follow Greenbelt on Instagram here.